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Featured Riding

Scotland West Coast Road Trip around Isle of Mull & Skye with Mapped/FA

Blake, Mapped/FA
Blake, Mapped/FA

I think I’m almost as passionate about Scotland as I am about motorcycles, scotch and good coffee (which means it’s significant). I first travelled to Scotland in 2017 for our NC500 Adventure. I fell in love with the scenery, the roads and the people. I knew I would be heading back.

In August 2019 I set off on tour to explore the West Coast of Scotland and, more importantly, the Isle of Mull and the Isle of Skye. I decided to call this adventure the “Western Isles Tour”. Now, I must put my hand up and admit that I have made a mistake. I have been advised by several followers that the Isle of Mull and Skye are not part of the Western Isles. Please accept my apologies for this error! (But to me, Mull and Skye were the Western Isles, for this adventure at least!)

The tour itself took place over five days and was designed to take in key parts of the Scottish Highlands, the West coast as well as the Isles of Mull and Skye. In total, the adventure covered over 1,300 miles, starting and ending in Manchester. AKA Team Mapped Base Camp. Although, the true start point is Loch Lomond.

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Featured Riding

Adventures Down Under, Rental MT09 in Brisbane, Part 2

Continuing my MT09 adventure down under in Brisbane, for my second day I followed a route loosely based on this Rent This Bike blog post, an epic loop heading North West of Brisbane around lake Wivenhoe, taking in Mount Glorious, then North West over to Kingaroy, through Bunya Mountain and then back via Cooyar, Crows Nest and Esk. A substantial ride to do in one day at around 535 km, that left me minimal time to stop and explore along the route, before riding back into Brisbane after dark due to the early autumn nights. Definitely get out on the road early or consider stopping the night half way for a more leisurely cruise.

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Riding

Adventures Down Under, Rental MT09 in Brisbane, Part 1

So when my boss turned round and asked if I could join him on a sales trip to a prospective customer in Brisbane, I of course jumped at the opportunity. Sure, there was quite a lot of technical prep work setting up demo systems for presentations, the arduous sales meeting itself and the long flights (not business class sadly). But it did afford me chance to grab a couple of free days to rent a bike and explore some of Australia’s beautiful East coast. Being my first visit to Australia, I was keen to see as much of it as I could cram into my time there.

For motorcycle rental, a quick Google revealed Eagle Rider had a shop in Brisbane, certainly tempting having rented from them previously in Sam Francisco. However, I also found the smaller local firm Rent This Bike, with a good choice of bikes and very competitive pricing. They were also more flexible on return times, affording me two full days of riding. I only had a Friday and Saturday free time and EagleRider close at 3pm on Saturdays, whereas Rent This Bike were happy to accommodate pick up and drop offs from 7am to 7pm any day.

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Riding

Motorcycle Routes around San Francisco & San Jose Bay Area

Over the last year, I’ve made a number of trips to the San Francisco Bay Area, hiring a number of bikes out there and explored many great roads and locations. Here I have rounded up some of the best routes I enjoyed ready for you to download and check out if you’re in the area.

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Riding

Ride Out Route – Essex Loop

A couple of weeks ago I was asked to lead a ride for the ELAM group. A bit of a double edged sword, a great chance to pick a route via my favourite roads, but also somewhat nerve wracking – you don’t want to miss a turning, lose anyone and so on. For the ride I choose a popular loop around Essex, starting in Harlow, then taking in Finchingfield, Halstead, Mersea Island, Maldon, Burnham-on-Crouch then returning to Harlow.

Part 1

Bikes on show at Finchingfield

The first leg starts at Harlow McD’s just off M11 Junction 7, takes a number of rural and twisty roads up through Ongar, Hatfield Heath, Standstead airport, Thaxted and then Finchingfield. These back roads twist and turn and are great to throw your bike left then right, and almost all have great condition tarmac. With the weather warming up a much needed ice cream was had in Finchingfield as we checked out all the bikes on show.

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Riding

Good Friday Seaside Ride, London to Essex Loop

It was a bank holiday, the sun was shining and the rest of the family were out of town – such a perfect day teat up Essex on the bike. Be rude not to take advantage.

Finchingfield

I struck North out of Romford, up to Ongar, West a bit to Stansted, up through Thaxted and then my first stop was Finchingfield – all roads lead to Finchingfield, you can’t have an Essex ride out not going there… Though surprisingly quiet today, not like most weekends. A quick cuppa in Bosworth’s, then back on the road.

Heading Eastbound to Sible Hedingham, Sudbury, Manningtree before finally hitting the coast in Walton-on-the-Naze for lunch. Parked on the seafront by Revved Up,  a friendly little biker shop selling clothes and a modest brew. With sea, sand, surf and the chippie next door it ticked all the boxes for a quintessential British seaside jaunt.

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Riding

Howto: Plan & Follow a Google Maps Route on Motorcycle with your Phone

You’ve all been there, spent ages on Google Maps trying to plot a perfect super twisty route down all the quiet back roads; but come unstuck when trying to follow the route whilst on the bike. At the end of the day, you’ve got a computer with a route on the screen and  a phone in your pocket with a GPS and maps – why is it so hard to your route from one to other and then ride it? This howto guide goes through all you need to ride a route off Google Maps on your bike, using your phone.

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Riding

Trip to North Wales July 2016

Last weekend I made another motorcycle trip up from London to Welshpool, North Wales to visit family and friends; which of course took a long, convoluted and twisty route there and back. Come on?! With beautiful weather and a couple of days to kill on the bike, you think I’m just gonna sit on the motorway for 4 hours? Stuff that…

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Riding

Mersea Island Ride Out

The only thing worse than being stuck at work, is being stuck at work when there is perfect biking weather outside. So, the other day my wife and I booked the day off, dropped kids off at school and then just hit the road. Life’s too short.

We took a gentle bimble out into Essex with Mersea Island as our destination for lunch. Fairly familiar roads to myself, but a good opportunity for Mary to continue building back her confidence and also test out her new Garmin Satnav. Here’s the route (though we plotted this in Garmin’s Base Camp app and then downloaded it to the satnav, which all worked perfectly).

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Riding

Autumn Ride to North Wales

For this half term holiday I had the chance to undertake one last ride  for the year, out to North Wales to catch up with family whilst having a blast on the bike. I took Friday off work to ride up, but didn’t set off  until nearly lunch as I waited for the rain to abate. The roads remained wet for most of the afternoon and the weather was grey. I took things steady, even though there were many fun and technical bends to negotiate. The route was very similar to the one I undertook last time: London, Aylesbury, Buckingham, Brackley, Banbury, Stratford-upon-Avon, Droitwich, Kidderminister, Bridgenorth, Shrewsbury and finishing in Welshpool. Night fall hit I passed Bridgenorth, where upon I was glad I had the Fazer with decent headlight, and enjoyed the London’s novelty that is main beam.